Hurricane Hunters Visit

Two hurricane-hunting aircraft visited the Quonset State Airport (KOQU; North Kingstown, RI) yesterday:

  • Lockheed WP-3D Orion (N42RC; c/n 285A-5622) of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and
  • Lockheed WC-130J Hercules (97-5304, c/n 382-5474) of 53rd WRS, 403rd Wing, AF Reserve.
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WP-3D Orion

The aircraft were part of NOAA’s “Hurricane Awareness Tour” aiming to “raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.” The Orion is one of two such aircraft operated by NOAA, based in Lakeland, Florida and equipped to do data collection to supplant data from ground-based radars as well as from satellites. Similarly, the Hercules collects weather data from storms and other adverse weather phenomena; this aircraft is based in Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

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People queued for a long time to get to see the aircraft
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Orion with its “Kermit” logo
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The aircraft was equipped with lots of sensors
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With all the modifications, this Orion would make an interesting scale model project, converting from a regular P-3 kit
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Like a military aircraft with mission markings, this Orion has seen a lot of action over the years
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WC-130J
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Prominently identified as a “hurricane hunter”

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